Welcome! I am a faculty member in the Politics Department at Willamette University in Oregon. I am also a contributing member in the interdisicplinary Latin American & Latin@ Studies (LALS) and American Ethnic Studies (AES) programs.
I did my undergraduate work in Latin American Studies at New York University. After college, I spent two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Guatemala, working in ecotourism, women's rights and political participation. I based my doctoral work on this experience, conducting one year of mixed-methods field research. I completed an interdisicplinary PhD in Environmental Science, Policy and Management from UC Berkeley in 2010.
I blog occasionally on geography and social justice at guatepolitics.tumblr.com.
I teach classes on Latin American politics, political ecology, and the politics of international development. You can check out individual coursepages using the links at left, which I'll try to update every time registration rolls around.
In spring 2014, I will teach a class on Transnational Labor Politics (Poli121) and Politics in the Developing World (Poli218).
My research connects the politics of conservation and development to the production of citizenship, territory and nation in Latin America. My current book project is an ethnographic study of narco narratives, remilitarization and rights claims in Guatemala's Maya Forest. In addition to peer-reviewed publications, I have published policy papers with Guatemalan NGOs and submitted expert reports to the Guatemalan Ministry of Culture and US immigration courts.
Recent Presentations & Publications
Ybarra, M. (2013) You Cannot Measure a Tzuultaq'a: Cultural Politics at the Limits of Liberal Legibility. Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography 45(3): 584-601.
Ybarra, M. (2012) Taming the Jungle, Saving the Maya Forest: Sedimented counterinsurgency practices in contemporary Guatemalan conservation. Journal of Peasant Studies 39(2): 479-502. Special Issue: Green grabbing: A new appropriation of nature? guest edited by James Fairhead, Melissa Leach and Ian Scoones.
Ybarra, M., Obando Samos, O., Grandia, L., and N.B. Schwartz. (2012) Tierra, Migración y Vida en Petén, 1999-2009. Guatemala City: CONGCOOP-IDEAR.
Ybarra, M. (2012) Voting for Mano Dura? Remilitarization and Political Activism in Post-War Guatemala. Paper session: Critical Geographies of Counter-Insurgency. Annual meeting of the American Association of Geographers (AAG), New York, NY; February 27.